1985 Orange Bowl
51st Orange Bowl
1234 Total
Washington 140014 28
Oklahoma 01403 17
DateJanuary 1, 1985
StadiumOrange Bowl
LocationMiami, Florida
MVPJacque Robinson (UW TB)
Ron Holmes         (UW DT)
FavoriteOklahoma by 6 points [1][2]
RefereeJimmy Harper (SEC)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersDon Criqui, Bob Trumpy,
and Bill Macatee
Orange Bowl
 < 1984  1986

The 1985 Orange Bowl was the 51st edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, on Tuesday, January 1. Part of the 1984–85 bowl game season, it matched the fourth-ranked Washington Huskies of the Pacific-10 Conference and the #2 Oklahoma Sooners of the Big Eight Conference. Underdog Washington rallied to win 28–17.[2][3][4][5][6][7]


Main article: 1984 NCAA Division I-A football season

Orange Bowl organizers envisioned the game as a national championship game, discounting the undefeated record of BYU due to their inferior schedule.[8]

Brigham Young's opponents as a group have a losing record; how can a team like that be the national champion? As far as the Orange Bowl is concerned, we think ours is a national championship game.

— Nick Crane, Orange Bowl team selection committee chairman[8]


Main article: 1984 Washington Huskies football team

The Huskies (10–1) had risen back from a loss at USC on November 10 that knocked them from the top spot in both polls to fourth (#3 UPI), and cost them the Pac-10 title and the accompanying berth in the Rose Bowl. This was the first appearance by a Pac-10 team in the Orange Bowl and remains the Huskies' only appearance.


Main article: 1984 Oklahoma Sooners football team

The Sooners (9–1–1) tied rival Texas but were upset at Kansas.[9] They won the Big Eight title for the ninth time in twelve seasons and were making their fifth Orange Bowl appearance in eight seasons; they were favored in this game by six points.[1][2]

Game summary

Danny Greene gave the Huskies an early lead on his 29-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Paul Sicuro, and tailback Jacque Robinson made it 14–0 after one quarter on his touchdown plunge. Sooner quarterback Danny Bradley cut the lead with a touchdown sneak, and Derrick Shepard tied the game before halftime on his 61-yard catch from Bradley for a touchdown.

The third quarter was scoreless, and Tim Lashar's 35-yard field goal gave Oklahoma a 17–14 lead with under nine minutes remaining. After Sicuro was intercepted for a third time, Hugh Millen took over at quarterback for Washington in the fourth quarter. He guided the Huskies on a 74-yard drive in seven plays, capped by a twelve-yard pass to Mark Pattison in the end zone for a four-point lead with less than six minutes to go.[4][10][11] The Sooners muffed the ensuing kickoff return and started at their own two; Washington intercepted a tipped Bradley pass deep in Oklahoma territory and soon scored again on a touchdown run by fullback Rick Fenney to make the final score 28–17.[6][12]

The Sooner Schooner Game

With the score tied early in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma attempted a short field goal, from 22 yards out. It was good, and the Sooner Schooner rode out onto the field, as was tradition for Sooner scores. However, the play was nullified due to an illegal procedure penalty on Oklahoma due to a player not reporting his temporary jersey number to the officials, which he was required to do before the ball was snapped.

Pulled by two Shetland ponies, the wagon got stuck on the wet grass, ending up in front of the Huskies' sideline, and the Sooners were assessed a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Lashar's ensuing 42-yard kick was blocked, keeping the game tied at fourteen.[13][14][15][16]

The Orange Bowl had returned to natural grass nine years earlier in 1976; the Sooners' home field in Norman had artificial turf from 1970 through 1993.


First quarter
Second quarter
Third quarter
No scoring
Fourth quarter


Statistics Washington   Oklahoma  
First Downs 17 17
Rushes–yards 43–192 54–162
Passing yards 119 124
Passes (C–A–I) 9–21–3 6–21–1
Total Offense 64–311 75–286
Punts–average 6–37.7 7–34.6
Fumbles–lost 3–1 6–2
Turnovers 4 3
Penalties–yards 5–25 8–60
Time of possession 28:52 31:04


Washington finished second in both final polls;[19][20] undefeated Brigham Young won the national title after they rallied for a 24–17 victory over unranked Michigan (6–6) in the Holiday Bowl on December 21.[21][22] Oklahoma fell to sixth.

This remains Washington's sole Orange Bowl appearance; Oklahoma returned in each of the next three seasons. The next Pac-10 team at the Orange Bowl was eighteen years later, the USC Trojans in January 2003.


  1. ^ a b "The latest line". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 1, 1985. p. 39.
  2. ^ a b c "Orange Bowl". Pittsburgh Press. December 31, 1984. p. D3.
  3. ^ "Today's bowl games: Orange". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). January 1, 1985. p. 2B.
  4. ^ a b c d "Huskies vote: 'We're No. 1'". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 2, 1985. p. 1C.
  5. ^ "Huskies smash Sooners, 28-17". Milwaukee Sentinel. wire services. January 2, 1985. p. 1, part 2.
  6. ^ a b Blanchette, John (January 2, 1985). "Huskies leave 'em Orange with envy". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. B1.
  7. ^ Robinson, John (January 3, 1985). "Have Huskies crowned Y's season of destiny?". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. G1.
  8. ^ a b Nissenson, Herschel (December 16, 1984). "Who's No. 1? The controversy abounds". The Times of Northwest Indiana. Associated Press. Retrieved October 24, 2022. Brigham Young's opponents as a group have a losing record; how can a team like that be the national champion?" said Nick Crane, chairman of the team selection committee. "As far as the Orange Bowl is concerned, we think ours is a national championship game (between No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 4 Washington).
  9. ^ "Kansas surprises No. 2 Oklahoma". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. October 28, 1984. p. 8E.
  10. ^ Weiss, Dick (January 2, 1985). "Huskies give Oklahoma sour Orange to swallow". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Knight-Ridder. p. 33.
  11. ^ Taylor, Jim (January 2, 1985). "Huskies fix Sooner wagon, hope to grab No. 1 brand". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 25.
  12. ^ "The 1980s | Orange Bowl".
  13. ^ Collier, Gene (January 2, 1985). "Oklahoma had the horses, but..." Pittsburgh Press. p. D1.
  14. ^ Taylor, Jim (January 2, 1985). "Horseplay costs Sooners". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 25.
  15. ^ "Barry Switzer reacts to the "Sooner Schooner Penalty" 1985". YouTube. Retrieved 2022-02-10.
  16. ^ Rosaforte, Tim (January 2, 1985). "'Unhorsemanlike' Conduct Hurts Sooners: Refs Throw Flag On Overenthusiastic Sooner Schooner". Sun-Sentinel. Florida. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015.
  17. ^ a b "Football: Orange Bowl". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). January 2, 1985. p. B4.
  18. ^ a b "Game-by-game recaps: 1985" (PDF). 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl media guide. January 2019. p. 39.
  19. ^ "It's close, but Huskies are No. 2". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). wire services. January 3, 1985. p. 19.
  20. ^ Robinson, John (January 3, 1985). "BYU No. 1". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. D1.
  21. ^ "BYU finishes 13-0, but will it stay No. 1?". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 22, 1984. p. 1B.
  22. ^ Robinson, Doug (December 22, 1984). "Bosco pass seals Holiday Bowl victory". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. D1.